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About Redtravel

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  1. Redtravel

    Would you cruise Med mid October, early November?

    just back from 2 weeks in the med on Marina. This year weather conditions were not the best. in previous years, sailing the Med in October and November were very pleasant. The weather patterns around the globe have been shifting. There was a storm that affected the med. it caused extreme weather.....very windy, high rough seas, and lots of rain. We had only a few sunny days. We had 3 scheduled stop changes due to the stormy weather. We did not stop in Zadar, Portofino, or Bandol. Substituted were Livorno, Dibrovnik, and Corsica. Loved Corsica. It was beautiful. It was also one of our few sunny days. We also had a trip to Capri canceled by Oceania. Many excursions were canceled for several reasons. There was some chaos dealing with destination services. Oceania does not provide much info on ports. At least we could use wifi to get info on the new ports. In some ports, local tourist info was helpful. I would probably go again in the fall. I would pay more attention to getting info ahead of sailing.
  2. Redtravel

    Grand Dining Room Menu

    We just sailed 14 nights on Marina. We were unaware that the 14 day cruise was really a pair of 2 seven day cruises. Each cruise was exactly the same as far as menus in the Grand Dining room and in the Terrace buffet. So not only are the dining room menus repeating, we also had repeats of the same offerings in the buffet. It was dull to keep seeing same things many times. I prefer the older menus that seemed fresh with a new variety of offerings every day. Also, the specialty restaurant menus could use some updating. I was given old torn menus that looked old and sad. Previous to this cruise, we have taken longer continuous cruises that really had different menus each night. We enjoyed some lunches in the dining room. Those menus also repeated several items. Food quality is still good with a few exceptions. Toscana was a disappointment. Several dishes were overcooked or served cold. The service was poor. They knew that they had ruined our dining experience. They just said sorry and offered us another reservation. We should have passed. The next time was slightly better. Toscana was by far my least favorite dinner. They overcook the pasta. I had better pasta at the buffet. Last year, I really liked Toscana.....it was also on Marina. It is obvious that there has been a real shift in attitude and a decrease in staff. it seemed that there were fewer people serving more tables.
  3. Redtravel

    Livorno to Florence - Best way to do it on your own?

    Train from Livorno is quick, cheap, and easy. Train stops within most sites that are interesting. Great museums, shopping, and restsurants. Easy walk between train and all sites. Do not take the ship excursion.
  4. Redtravel

    There's Good News and there's bad news

    Cannnot find any order to the threads or the responses. Dates are so mixed up, it doesn't seem to have any order. Cruisecritic is not working.
  5. Redtravel

    Opinions of These 3 P Roma Hôtels

    We went through the same exercise. We had booked the Olimpia until a friend told us about the AC Marriott. We will be staying there in 2 weeks. Will let you know how it is. It looks like a very convenient location. I have been in Venice on other trips. Taking luggage on boats or across canals is tough. There is a luggage drop in the Piazzele Roma. If you want to stay further in, leave bags at the drop and only take a small bag with you.
  6. I use AT&T unlimited voice, internet and text for $10 / 24 hours. I don't use it everyday. Not good at sea. Windstar wifi is not great. It is slow. On my last cruise, when I went to buy wifi from guest relations, the crew suggested that I not buy it. They told me where in each port to find good wifi. Just follow the crew. They also know where to find great food and drink.
  7. On Windstar many times. Soda includes Coca Cola products. We like Coke zero, diet Sprite, and club soda. We have our cabin fridge stocked eith them. Also, like bottled water. There were other types of sodas, juices, etc. not a problem.
  8. Redtravel

    Pack and Play/Crib

    We used a pack n play type crib on Summit. It was good. Mesh sides and low platform. It folded. However, there was plenty of space in the cabin. Never needed to fold it. We were in concierge class. It was worth booking concierge for the extra space.
  9. One of the nice features of the designated elite reception is that you have the opportunity for interaction with officiers and other guests. At a chance encounter on Millenium, the CRuise Director paid attention to my comments. It made a good cruise even better.
  10. The drinks loaded onto your seapass only happens when there are too many people to fit into a reserved space. When that happens, you will find lots of elites at every bar. I have usually had that happen on winter Caribbean cruises. One of the best elite evening events was held nightly on the Millenium in the Rendez Vous lounge. It was really nice, had music, lots of ship officiers came, and it was next to the dining rooms.
  11. I like Celebrity and Azamara. Like many long time cruisers, I was cruising years before Azamara existed. I am elite plus or discoverer plus depending on which line I am on. Benefits vary. On Celebrity the evening reception is nice. It brings together like minded cruisers who obviously like Celebrity for complimentary drinks and snacks. It is a nice place to unwind and relax. Azamara does not do it. The drinks are always complimentary 24/7. It would be nice to get together with loyal cruisers. I value the pleasant time to converse with like minded folks. I don't drink much liquor. For me, it's not about the drinks. Celebrity elite plus does provide 2 free bags of laundry per person and 240 free internet minutes. azamara used to provide this. I have heard that it has been cut down. Since I seldom use all my free bags of laundry or wifi, I am ok. What Azamara does as a smaller ship makes a big difference in the cruise experience. It isn't crowded, no lines or advance tickets needed. Eat dinner in the MDR or buffet when you want. Azamara sails into smaller ports. It is worth experiencing. As for price, Azamara often costs more than Celebrity. It includes more in the basic fare. There are promotions offered like double upgrades, air credits, free excursions, etc. that may make the fare actually lower than Celebrity. Shop carefully. Try Azamara. I still cruise on Celebrity and other lines. I like most cruises.
  12. Redtravel

    Alaska on Azamara--no Glacier Bay?

    Alaska is great. Sailed there 20 years ago with extended family group. Had a good time. However, I now want the cruise to be as important as the destination ports. I like smaller ships, small group tours, and fewer kids. If you want to see Glacier Bay, you have to sail on Holland America. HAL does a good cruise. However, HAL is mass market and has lots of people on their ships. Summer on HAL has lots of kids. If you value the intimate small ship experience, you will not be happy on HAL. There are many ships doing Alaska next year. We looked into several cruise lines going to Alaska. We axed any that had "kids sail free", big ships, and several lines that do not meet our needs. We chose Azamara.
  13. Redtravel

    For Oceania cruisers considering Azamara

    It can vary. Windstar is often very expensive. Windstar is uninclusive in many ways. Included are soft drinks and special coffees anywhere, no fee for specialty restaurants, deck BBQ better than other lines, excellent food, loccitane toiletries, and great service. Cabins on the sailing ships are small, well arranged, and have no verandas. Star ships are all big suites, some have a french balcony, top suites have a real balcony, and everything thay sailing ships offer. Not included are tips, liquor, excursions, transfers, and internet. Internet is costly and often is poor. You can buy the extras. Windstar is often more expensive than Oceania. Sometimes you can get a good deal. There is a weekly special where 7 selected cruises are on sale. There are flash sales and often holiday sales. Repeat guests get 5-10% off future bookings not just on the ship. Why do I love Windstar? It is well organized, crew is fabulous, able to visit small ports, and never any crowds. It is so relaxing. It is really fun. I do like Oceania and Azamara. I have future booked cruises on both lines. They do a nice cruise.
  14. Redtravel

    Specialty Restaurant Booking

    Called Azamara to request a table for our 50th anniversary in Prime C. I would certainly pay ahead for the reservation. I was told no advance reservations. Not sure that I understand why. However, it is what it is. I prereserve on Celebrity and pay at the time the reservation is booked. On Oceania, I get to prereserve a limited number of specialty restaurant reservations before sailing. No extra fee for anyone dining in a specialty venue. There should be a way to reserve one dinner in each specialty venue. Even when you embark, there should be limits on the number of reservations per cabin. That way, it would be easy to accomodate the guests. Allow additional reservations later during the cruise. On Windstar, nobody can prereserve specialty dining. No extra fee. Each cabin can only reserve one seating in each venue. The people who arrive earlier get more choices. On the Windstar Star Legend for a b2b, we ate in Candles twice. On the last night of the cruise, my spouse was celebrating a birthday. We were asked if we would like to dine in Candles that night. We were amazed since Windstar noticed that we were celebrating. It is the little things like that that makes the difference between a good experience and a spectacular event.
  15. Redtravel

    Dinner reservations Marina

    I am allowed 8 dinner reservations which I cannot fully book online. On my first try I got 5. It didn't matter if I wanted to share or not. I could see the open spots. However, I was not able to book. I waited a week and tried again. Got one more booking. My Oceania states that I have 6 out of 8. I can see open slots. I cannot book. Anyone have the same problem?